Well that’s it. Tomorrow is my first day in offline land. I’ll be disconnected from the internet: no email, no google, no blogging, no twitter… no nothing.
Why? Because I want to know how that is. What am I going to miss the most? And what are the things that I’m happy to miss?
These crazy questions came up when I was working on a research project. A study that examines the effects of internet on our happiness. Does the internet make you happy?
The internet makes you sad
From what I have studied the last months I can tell that some forms of internet usage really make you sad. For example people who suffer from information stress, from not being able to filter or deal with the unlimited amount of content that is potentially under their finger tips.
Or think about email. Email is a monster that gets bigger every time you fight it. Just when you think you have it under control (you’ve replied to 40 messages), at least sixteen of them are allready awaiting you with a next action. No wonder initiatives like the E-mail free Friday grow bigger.
The internet makes you happy
Also there is much proof of situations in which the internet actually makes you happy. In my talk at the PicNic-festival in Amsterdam I’ve spoken about the virtual happiness-hypothesis.
By exchanging bits and bites with people in other rooms -but behind their screens- you simulate social interaction, increasing your happiness. Because that’s what we’re built to do: to socially interact (besides to reproduce of course).
The aim of the research project is to combine all studies and theories on internet / happiness, and come up with a conceptual model. It would be wonderful to write a manual for the happy digital citizen.
No farewell, just goodbye
Don’t get me wrong: I love the internet. And I’ve done almost anything the last four years when it comes to maintaining a digital lifestyle. That’s why “The Next Web” seemed the perfect place to say goodbye for now.
I’ve decided to go offline for (only?) a full month, so I’ll be back online in January 2009. If you want to reach me in the mean time, feel free to send me a post card or let’s meet IRL.
P.s. Please feel free to comment on this article, but forgive me if I don’t reply within a month :-)